A good friend of mine and I joke that fate tried everything to get us to be friends. We grew up less than a mile from each other. We attended Catholic schools in the same area, albeit different ones. We took ballet classes (different studios) and had mutual friends (though we didn’t know it). Still, it wasn’t until I moved to another town and we went to the same Catholic high school that we met and became fast friends.
And then I moved again and we lost touch. Fast forward to senior year of high school, and we both ended up at the same bridge program at a local community college. I’ll never forget standing in line at orientation and looking at the back of her head, thinking “Wait! I know her!”
When the first day of school arrived, I was standing around with a girl from my high school when I saw my old friend arrive. I boldly went and said hello … praying she remembered me. Thankfully she did. Otherwise I would have been totally mortified. We’ve been really close ever since. And despite college, moves, marriages and time, we remain really close friends. (Do you have any friends like that?)
When I sat down to write about The Pastry Garden, I immediately thought of her and IM’d her about it. It’s in the area where we grew up and her parents still live … and I had to tell her to try their cupcakes. They’re worth it.
The Pastry Garden is a Hudson Valley institution that’s been creating cakes and confections since 1984. Longtime residents know about it, and seem to all have a great Pastry Garden story. Back when I lived in the area, my family and I would sometimes stop at The Pastry Garden’s Poughkeepsie, New York, location for butter cookies after church. They were such a special treat.
When I was in the area recently, I stopped in at their Hopewell Junction, New York, location to pick those memorable butter cookies as a gift for another friend who recently moved to the area. The cookies were every bit as good as I remembered: rich, dense and wonderfully buttery. Some come bathed in smooth, good quality chocolate. Others are filled with perfect ganache and amazing jellies. At a little less than $12 a pound, they are pricey but as a once in a while thing as a hostess gift or special occasion purchase, they are totally worth it.
While we were getting the cookies, I was enamored with their display case of cupcakes. They have big ones and little ones, with a variety of flavors. The cupcakes looked positively droolworthy. So on our way out of town, the kids and I stopped back for cupcakes for dessert. How could I not?
The S’mores Cupcake is a chocolate cupcake filled with marshmallow cream and frosted with chocolate ganache. There is a sprinkle of graham cracker crumbs around the edge of the cupcake and mini-marshmallows on top. The dense ganache and moist cupcake were rich and lip-smacking good. Also, the marshmallow cream filling was a nice surprise. However, I wish there was a little more graham and marshmallow to the cupcake.
The Cannoli Cupcake was also a rich, moist chocolate cupcake. It was frosted with cannoli cream and enrobed in a layer of chocolate ganache. Also, there were shards of cannoli shells sprinkled on top as well. It was my favorite of the cupcakes — the cannoli cream as frosting is absolutely genius.
I didn’t try the kids cupcakes, but they devoured them. I’ll take that as a good sign. As a mom, I appreciated the smaller (but still a good size) option for kids with whimsical toppings like gummy worms, rainbow sprinkles and ladybugs. The kids were drawn to them.
The cupcakes range in price from about $1.50 to $2.50, which is pretty inexpensive especially compared to major New York cupcakeries.
If you happen to be in the Dutchess County area, I can’t say enough good things about The Pastry Garden. It’s one of those few places that are as good now as they were 20 years ago. Their cakes are also perfect for special occasions. The location in Hopewell Junction also offers an array of gourmet ice creams and ice cream cakes.
The Hopewell Junction location is a sister location to the original location on Route 44 in Poughkeepsie and Sugar & Spice in Fishkill.
The Pastry Garden Bakery & Gourmet Ice Cream
415 Route 376
Hopewell Junction, NY 12533